Photo Cube Link

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Photo Cube Version 3.2 now available!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Quick cliMate 3.2 Bug fix

Well, that was annoying.

No sooner had I published cliMate 3.0 then I discovered 2 annoying bugs.

For World Weather Online I was retrieving the Moon Rise and Moon Set data, in preparation for the next release when I will use them to add a moon animation.

However, I had assumed that data would always be available, and so when this morning it produced a "No Moonset" condition instead of a time for a particular location, it failed, making it impossible to update the weather or add a new widget for that location.

Also discovered that when searching for a city name, it was ignoring the country code on the returned results. This was found due to a user in Rome, with a widget with the city name of "Roma". When updating, it was bringing back data for the first Roma it found, which was in Australia, rather than Roma, Italy. So the user was seeing an Australian time-zone and Australian weather.

Now the country code is being appended to the retrieval, and the correct city and time-zone is being returned.

A new version 3.2 has these fixed.

cliMate Animated Weather Widget v3.0 Released!

cliMate Animated Weather Widget version 3.0 was released today, and features the following enhancements:
  • New default World Weather Online weather provider
  • Improved main screen that matches Widget theme
  • New sunrise/sunset information on main screen
  • Windmill rotation matches current windspeed in main screen
  • Improved animation on main screen when swiping between different locations
 After the upgrade, any existing widgets will remain using Open Weather Map until they are manually switched over to use World Weather Online, which can easily be done by clicking on the Set Location within the Settings screen, then clicking on the Preferred Weather Data setting to choose the World Weather Online provider:

It will then search for the original city name or current location via World Weather Online.

All new widgets will use World Weather Online from the start, unless told otherwise.

This should fix the 2nd of the two major complaints about cliMate, firstly that is wasn't resizable, secondly that the data wasn't accurate.

World Weather Online seems just as good (if not better) than AccuWeather, so hopefully the accuracy issue will be laid to rest.

Next up: Adding a moon rise/moon set indicator, and the Stonehenge theme.

Then, working on new themes, all suggestions welcome!

Monday, March 30, 2015

CliMate Update - New Main Screen and Weather Provider

Time for an update on recent work to CliMate.

On the main screen:
  • The layout for a particular widget location is now much improved and linked to the chosen Theme for that widget.
  • If the Countryside Theme is chosen, the windmill rotation is based on the current wind speed
  • There is a new sunrise/sunset animation; the sun rises over the sunrise time indicator, travels across the "sky" and sets above the sunset time indicator. 

Also started to add a new weather provider. The accuracy of OpenWeatherMap varies enormously according to location; for some areas it is perfect, others have severe problems with accuracy. For other locations, the accuracy depends on the time of year; here in Hong Kong for example its fine throughout the year apart from about 3 months around April, where it is not able to keep up with the constant shifting of fine weather to rainy weather.

Everyone wants AccuWeather, but they are no longer giving out API keys; so I can't get free or paid data for it.

The next best option seems World Weather Online; based on my tests so far it is more accurate and up to date than OpenWeatherMap, but of course is not free. So I will be rolling that out with the next release and hoping that will resolve most users accuracy issues.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New cliMate Work in progress..

After the successful release of version 2.0 of climate featuring fully resizable widgets, its time to start work on the next set of features.

Currently working on new Weather Providers, and trying to balance the free services they give against the potential number of users. One service for example, whilst probably giving better results than Open Weather Map, has a limit of 4000 requests a day. Assuming the weather is updated say 8 times a day, that only allows for 500 possible users, which is pretty low.

Simultaneously I am working on getting the main app screen to match the theme of the widget. This is going very well, and I will be adding even more features to that screen, but it is a little slow to display, not quite sure why.

Anyway, here is the main screen before:

And what it will look like on the next version! That's right, you get the full sized animated version of the widget, with all the bells and whistles, forecasts, humidity and animated Beaufort Scale wind speed. I hope to match the windmill arms speed to the Beaufort scale, when the windmill theme is being shown.

I will play around a little with the proportions of the forecast areas and humidity area to get it perfect.
Also hoping to add an animated sunrise/sunrise time indicator on the left.
I also made it slide left and right when you swipe the screen to look at other locations, but again due to the slowness displaying the new layout, its not that fast. I hope I can fix that, as it looks fantastic.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

cliMate 2.0 Released!

Finally, the new version 2.0 of cliMate Animated Weather Widget is released today on Google Play.This now has fully resizable widgets.

On Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich devices, the widgets stretch the current condition layout to the resized area.

On Jellybean, KitKat, Lollipop and higher, the widget layout depends on the aspect ratio of the resized area:

  • If the new area is roughly rectangular, it just displays the current condition:
  • If the new area has space below, it shows a forecast, the size of which depends on how much space there is to show it. The more space, the more detail.

In addition, the Skyscape and Black Glass themes have been greatly improved, the default widget size itself is much larger than before so it fills more of the screen, and there are new options to hide not only the border (to get a Samsung style flat widget) but also hide the birds and airplane if required.

So what's next? I will be working on the following simultaneously:

  • Adding new Weather Providers
  • Updating the main app screen so it reflects the widget theme, rather than always showing a Skyscape style layout
  • Adding a Stonehenge theme (see below for initial ideas):

Enjoy the new version!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Almost ready for Resizable release!

Well, its been a tough 2 months, I didn't think I was going to be able to do it when I first started, but finally I have all the Weather Conditions for all 3 themes converted to a fully resizable format.

The Black Glass and Skyscape themes have been given a new lease of life, look much better in the larger sizes with the built-in forecasts.

I just added a new notification that is shown when your widget is set to Current Location but your device can't get a current location. This is usually caused by the device's Location Settings being switched off, which might not be due to a deliberate action by the user, but could have been automatically done without the user's knowledge in low power situations, or by some Battery Saver type apps.

Testing the new version on all 4 of my devices right now, then will release a version 2.0 hopefully this weekend. It is going to have to be a minimum Android version of 3.0, but that is no great hardship, as it only rules out 7% of all devices at the moment.

Then after release, its time to look at new Weather Providers..

Friday, February 13, 2015

cliMate Weather Progress and Roadmap

So good news to report, all the Countryside Theme conditions have been converted to resizable versions, and I am half way through the Skyscape Themes, as they are a lot quicker and easier to do. Then its the Black Glass Theme which should be quicker still.

So I am hoping another week to get all the Themes complete. Its Chinese New Year here in Hong Kong next week, so I will have more time to work on it over the holiday.

Then I have to clear up all the unused images that have been replaced by the resizable versions.

At that point I think I will release version 2.0, as making it fully resizable is a major step.
I will also include a few bug fixes and enhancements, such as providing a notification when you have set it to use Current Location but your Location settings have been switched off. This can happen due to Battery Savers and sometimes its just easy to forget.

Then what?

It has to be the Weather Provider, getting so many complaints about Open Weather Map data. I will look at the terms and conditions of AccuWeather, WeatherBug, WorldWeatherOnline etc and see what data I can get for free. It will be limited, but I need to do something about it.

Whilst I am doing that, I will work getting the main app forecast screen to mirror the widget theme, so if you have chosen the Countryside theme it actually shows that instead of the default Skyscape.

Then next theme will be Stonehenge, as its an adaption of the Countryside theme, and thus will be pretty quick to implement, and it looks amazing and dramatic in the sunset and night conditions..

And after all that, hopefully I will have a nice stable system with good weather data, and I can start work on more complicated themes. Current ideas for themes include:

City in front of a river
Chinese Painting style
Pine Forest with cottage